Stuck for a gift idea? Try a Christmas woodcock

SO what DO you get the man who has everything for Christmas?

Simple. Stuff his stocking with, er, a woodcock . . .

That’s a migratory gamebird from Russia and Scandinavia, in case you were wondering.

According to the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, the birds which have been flying south to this country during the autumn are to be fitted with miniature satellite tags next spring so that experts can track their migration routes back to Russia for the first time.

Dr Andrew Hoodless, Europe's leading authority on woodcock and his team plan to fit the tags to 20 woodcock across the UK in the spring of 2012.

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Andrew explains: "We still know very little about the routes taken by individual birds back to the main breeding grounds in Russia, Belarus and Scandinavia, stop-over locations in Europe or total journey time.

“If we can raise the funds to fit these satellite tracking devices it will mean that in a few years we will have some revealing insights into the migration strategies of woodcock across Europe".

An access portal will be set up on the GWCT website where you can watch your chosen woodcock tackle the 3,160 mile migration voyage in real time by live satellite link.

 The satellite link goes live in February 2012 and regular email updates will be sent to sponsors every month.

Give the gift of these secretive birds and receive a free Christmas bumper pack containing a Pocket guide to Nature book, your woodcock passport, a certificate confirming sponsorship information about your feathered friend and a pack of woodcock stickers plus 2 months free sponsorship.

To sign up at only £3 a month or £4 a month if you become a Supporter Member. call 01425 652381.